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Can closet actors smell our desperation?

Gay acting love-birds Steve Callahan and Matthew Montgomery have added their voices to James Duke Mason’s web-centric Trailblazing Campaign to encourage more queer actors to come clean – Mason is a young, openly gay actor himself and the spitting image of his Hollywood legend grandfather, James Mason Snr.

Not wishing to dampen Mason’s heartfelt campaign, but there is a danger that such eagerness by many in the gay community to have out gay stars makes it into a bigger issue than it should be and might put off actors wary of becoming poster stars for the cause.

And then there’s the inflexibility of many people’s perception – your sexuality isn’t black and white or set in stone, but column inches written about movie stars are.

It’s all too easy for Hollywood actors, encouraged by agents and lawyers, to justify their closet status. If they’ve ever dated a member of the opposite sex, those around them might argue, is it such a lie to deny their gayness? And decisions have to be made quickly when plenty more wannabes are snapping at your heels.

For our part, we wouldn’t mind seeing more mystery, not less, when it comes to movie stars’ private lives, so perhaps a better campaign would be to encourage more actors to be ambiguous about their sexuality, thereby leveling the playing field.

As GaGa knows only too well, there’s no harm in appealing to the widest demographic.

By:           Nick Feather
On:           Jun 3, 2011
Tagged: , , ,

  • 46 Comments
    • divkid
      divkid

      straight male actors, straight male anybody, don’t do “ambiguous”. and as far as the public are concerned, ambiguous always simply defaults to homo.

      Jun 3, 2011 at 7:54 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • BlogShag
      BlogShag

      And why are we supposed to give a hooty tooty flying fornication if they are gay, bisexual, straight, etc? I don’t watch movies having to know the sexual orientation of Nicole Kidman either, regardless of whether she has muff dived once in her life or three times.

      I also don’t go to concerts having to know the sexual orientation of the singer and everyone in the band. Jeeeez. What the hell is wrong with people?

      Jun 3, 2011 at 9:20 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Kirk212
      Kirk212

      LOL, who are these two? An entertainer’s orientation is none of our business. There is nothing worse than an actor, gay or straight, that peddles his or her life to the public. Love life, children on People magazine covers is so tacky and cheezy, especially when it all blows up with a cheating or tweeting scandal and they look like douches. The best actors are those we know little about personally. All this aside from the fact that it does limit careers of openly gay male stars seeking something more than gay roles, ensemble roles, Glee guest spots, Smurf movies, award show hosting and of course Theater. Sadly, those are the current rules in the business.

      Jun 3, 2011 at 10:01 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Hotone2me
      Hotone2me

      @BlogShag:

      I believe the main premise of this campaign is to allow Hollywood to become a less homophobic work environment. Unlike other facets of employment, Hollywood has tremendous power of how individuals view the world. Albeit the world a make believe at times, the power of influence is still there. I would have to agree, I could not care less of the sexuality of any of my favorite actors, but I am much more self affirmed in my sexual orientation and have been for several years now. However, there are many who are not.

      Again, I have watched a few videos and it appears that the James Duke Mason Trail Blazer Campaign is to set up a less homophobic work environment and asking for others of influence to help with this cause… I can’t help but appreciate this.

      Jun 3, 2011 at 10:01 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Cam
      Cam

      @BlogShag: said…

      “And why are we supposed to give a hooty tooty flying fornication if they are gay, bisexual, straight, etc? I don’t watch movies having to know the sexual orientation of Nicole Kidman”
      ________________________-

      Because it isn’t about caring what they are, it’s about the fact that every straight actor wearing a wedding ring has the freedom to be who they are, they aren’t told that they are less than or worthless because of who they are. Nobody is asking them what they are doing in the bedroom, all anybody is asking is for them to be who they are as a human being, and to defend the closeted statuses in hollywood is beyond shamefull.

      Jun 3, 2011 at 10:07 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Ashton cruz
      Ashton cruz

      “for our part, we wouldn’t mind seeing more mystery, not less, when it comes to movie stars’ private lives, so perhaps a better campaign would be to encourage more actors to be ambiguous about their sexuality…..”

      If that’s true then why do you guys keep posting blind items about closeted celebrities? Did you guys just write this post with your asses or are you sufferring from another case of selective amnesia? Come Queers get real.

      Jun 3, 2011 at 10:51 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • justnow
      justnow

      lets ask ll cool j, eddie murphy and mister cee how that ambiguity is working out?

      Jun 3, 2011 at 11:32 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Jeff R
      Jeff R

      Dear Mr. Feather: The irony of your piece is mind boggling given Queerty’s history of pieces on allegedly closeted actors.

      In a perfect world more mystery and respect for an individual’s right to privacy would be ideal but unfortunately the Industry currently doesn’t work that way. Being gay, albeit discreet/closeted, can prove to be a serious impediment to an actor’s career regardless of the breadth of their talent. For example, there are many gay casting agents and directors. managers, agents, directors, producers, et.al., who won’t even give closeted/discreet gay actors the opportunity to read for roles if they know or suspect that they’re gay (they do not necessarily even know the actor, they may have just seen/met him at parties, bars, clubs, etc., or know guys that the actor has allegedly dated.) Many agents and managers will not sign gay actors, irregardless of how talented and gorgeous they are, even if they’re very discreet or closeted, solely based upon their belief that the actor’s sexuality will diminish their marketability, especially if it ever comes to light. This is not BS. Ask Mr. Villarreal – he can confirm that I know what I’m talking about.

      The purpose of the campaign is to bring this issue to light, start a dialogue and hopefully improve the current atrocious reality facing gay actors. What’s wrong with that? Do you think that discrimination based upon one’s sexuality is a good thing? Shouldn’t blatant discrimination be addressed and exposed? Homophobia and discrimination are big issues.

      Did you even bother to contact Matt Montgomery and Mr. Mason to get some background on this piece? If not, why not? Daniel has Matt’s telephone number and contact info. Matt’s an articulate, intelligent man and he could have provided you with some needed insight that your insipid piece is sorely lacking. Do you know any relatively successful, closeted/discreet gay actors? If so, did you discuss this issue with them? (Please note: Given the tone of your piece – “bigger issue than it should be” – I would understand their reticence to be open and honest with you.) Have you ever heard any of the horror stories about working gay actors in LA – some of whom may even have been topics of Queerty blind items? Do you grasp the courage of someone like Matt, a Jonathan Groff, Cheyenne Jackson, Luke MacFarlane, Nicholas Rodriguez, Robert Gant, et.al., when they decide to pursue their chosen profession as an out gay man rather than live a lie? Did you approach any of them about their thoughts re: this campaign?

      Unfortunately, the situation will probably only improve dramatically when some high profile actors come out or are outed – especially the married ones – and some of the industry insiders (casting agents and directors, agents, managers, producers, et.al. – especially the gay ones) are publically called out on their homophobia and discriminatory practices, something which isn’t going to happen anytime soon. It’s highly unlikely that “Ambiguity” is going to become the rage in LA. How do we say Jennifer Anniston? ScarJo? Blake Lively? The Kardashians?!? The tabloid press? Given the current attitude of Industry powers that be, do you really think that a miraculous increased “ambiguity” would level the playing field? Get real!

      In the interim, I would suggest that you try to be a bit more supportive of efforts to right a wrong and lose the snark.
      Best,
      JeffR

      Jun 4, 2011 at 1:42 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Bomer
      Bomer

      “We were both out of the closet actors who had never been in the closet in the industry.”

      Maybe this explains why you aren’t making $600k an episode and I am?

      Jun 4, 2011 at 2:16 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • KevMusic
      KevMusic

      It’s amazing to me that gay people are vilifying other gay people for being out. This sort of drivel and some of the snarky comments are often used against us to deny us equality. I remember one politician actually saying, “we couldn’t discriminate against you if we didn’t know you were gay”. He’d get a real kick out of this.

      Jun 4, 2011 at 2:58 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Red Meat
      Red Meat

      @Bomer: Can I have .01% of that?

      Jun 4, 2011 at 3:00 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • mbd
      mbd

      This is another reminder of why I stopped reading queerty. Besides the point that this article is poorly written, it’s also pointless.

      Remind me again why it is bad that a two working actors, who are in a relationship with each other and not afraid to admit it, is a bad thing?

      Oh yeah, your site cares more for sensationalism than anything else. Which is why you are more and more a pariah.

      Jun 4, 2011 at 3:04 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • jayfray84
      jayfray84

      I definitely think the article promotes the idea of taking 2 steps back. This is a “line-in-the-sand” issue, where only forward momentum and progress are warranted. Actors should be allowed — just like everyone in the world — to be themselves, in an open and honest fashion, and yet still create interesting, engaging, (or even…ambiguous??) performances in their professional lives.

      Jun 4, 2011 at 3:24 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Kirk212
      Kirk212 [Different person #1 using similar name]

      @Bomer: You get the award for the most perfect response! So true isn’t he stunning.

      Jun 4, 2011 at 5:53 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Cam
      Cam

      @Bomer:

      Hey, there were blacks that passed as white back before civil rights who would then turn around and mistreat other blacks. How proud you must be, you’re following along in a long tradition of cowards.

      Jun 4, 2011 at 9:12 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • jason
      jason

      An actor’s orientation shouldn’t matter in the scheme of things. However, in reality, it does. To whom does it matter? To the financiers of the movies, to the studio heads, to the agents who are hired to promote the actors, to the stupid fucking females out there who look to Hollywood actors to fulfill their “dream man” fantasies.

      Can I just say to these females the following: fuck off, girls. We’re sick of you dictating what should be publicly acceptable. If you want your dream man, start acting like ladies and devote more of your time to your husbands and boyfriends.

      Jun 4, 2011 at 9:25 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Kirk212
      Kirk212 [Different person #1 using similar name]

      Actually the real cowards are those who make a career of hiding behind anonymous screen names making blog posts that consist of name calling and telling others who have actually made something of their lives how to live.

      Jun 4, 2011 at 10:46 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Mr. Enemabag Jones
      Mr. Enemabag Jones

      @Kirk212:

      It’s apparent the irony of your comment is lost on you.

      Het actors never shut-up about who they are dating, or married to, why should gay actors remain silent?

      @Bomer:

      Whores tend to make a lot of money.

      Jun 4, 2011 at 11:23 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Jon in Canada
      Jon in Canada

      Seriously, this is what passes for queer journalism?? This “article” is beyond simplistic. The campaign is not about ridding mystery (??) from actors lives, it’s clearly meant to encourage actors to live honestly. Being out doesn’t mean walking around, sucking face or groping in public, making a spectacle of their lives. It means being able to go shopping, to dinner, to an event with the one you love without having to hide. How can that ever be a negative? and why may I ask would a supposed queer site even take the view that being out is ever a negative, and please no denials, that is exactly what this “article” is saying.

      I realize you’re trying to be bold and daring, even relevant perhaps, but no. What this is is FOX News for queers. Cheap, banal, offering nothing but bitchy commentary cloaked in a very thin veneer trying to appear legitimate.

      Jun 4, 2011 at 11:58 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • glenn
      glenn

      I disagree totally, the only way the upcoming generation is going to feel comfortable and proud of who they are is via out and positive role models, whether it is in acting or in any other walk of life. We as a community have been ambiguous for centuries, why perpetuate it and cave into to the right wingers that wish we would go away completely

      Jun 4, 2011 at 12:27 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • GayFilmmaker
      GayFilmmaker

      You can’t have it both ways, Queerty. Do you want to ridicule closeted actors for not coming out (as you so often do), or do you want to tell gay actors to stay in the closet (which is a reprehensible position to take when our community is fighting for equality on every level)?

      Try supporting openly gay actors, writers, musicians – hell, support everyone who is out and proud! – instead of attacking a well-meaning effort like the Trailblazer Campaign and those people who are brave enough to come out in a competitive and homophobic industry.

      Jun 4, 2011 at 12:43 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • GayFilmmaker
      GayFilmmaker

      FYI, it’s called the Trailblazer Campaign, not the “Trailblazing” campaign. Not that accuracy is important in journalism or anything.

      Jun 4, 2011 at 2:03 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Howard
      Howard

      Wow, now I am confused. A blog with the catchphrase “Free Of An Agenda. Except That Gay One.” telling people to hide their being gay. Is this a really bad written satire, or a badly written, trying-to-appear-self-deprecating-only-to-look-self-loathing blogging? Well, at least it includes plenty of bashing of other gays who I guess don’t have quite the gay agenda Queerty is looking for. I respect and support the work Steve Callahan and Matthew Montgomery do, which is sadly not the case with Queerty. Posts like this will not change that.

      Jun 4, 2011 at 2:31 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Kristin
      Kristin

      For everybody talking about how they don’t need to know their entertainers’ personal lives, how many straight male actors are that you don’t know are straight. This isn’t about peddling their personal lives, this is about having the same rights as their straight counterparts to talk about their significant other in an interview or to walk down the red carpet with them. The point is nobody should have to hide who they whether they’re gay of straight. This video campaign is supposed to be about acceptance. I respect these actors and the work they do. Too bad I can’t say the same for Queerty.

      Jun 4, 2011 at 3:02 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • divkid
      divkid

      sooo tired of people accusing queerty of this and that.

      this article is but one writers opinion. it’s polemic, and i appreciate in that light. i don’t happen to agree with him (whaa d’ya think i’m bat-shit-fucking-crazy?!), but that’s okay.
      it’s proven many times to be an effective way of enlivening a debate which might otherwise have been sterile consensus of utter reasonableness (not withstanding jason’s contributions).
      i don’t know if it’s a good thing or not journalistically. i do know that for me it makes contributing more interesting.

      i’m, ahem, behind queerty all the way.

      *pugnacious sexy face* okay, girls do your worst… NOT THE FACE! NOT THE FACE!!!

      Jun 4, 2011 at 3:42 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • cristiane couto
      cristiane couto

      No one should hide who is really, we have the right to be free, whether we like the same sex or not. We can’t stay in the closet forever, we want equality as everyone else, want a world free of prejudice. It’s a shame that people like Queert have though this kinf of thinking, it’s even more amazing part of theis community. I love Matt and Steve work’s and support this campaign.

      Jun 4, 2011 at 5:23 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Sue
      Sue

      Is this article a joke?

      Saying “Not wishing to dampen Mason’s heartfelt campaign” then doing just that is a bit sad.

      If the article’s written to be “polemic” then that’s even sadder. As if the gay community needs more of that.

      Jon in Canada, you appear to be right. This article immediately made me think of those unpleasant Fox News reports.

      And GayFilmmaker, you’re correct too. Queerty should be doing all it can to support such a great campaign, rather than doing just the opposite.

      Not a joke, just disgraceful.

      Jun 4, 2011 at 6:11 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Matthew Rettenmund
      Matthew Rettenmund

      SO sick of the post-gay articles on this site (which is called QUEERTY!). Why question the validity of public figures being out? It’s not desperation, it’s liberation, and it’s good for them (it’s their choice, they’re in the videos) and good for others to see more gay faces.

      More mystery is never, EVER going to happen. So why not root for an equal amount of openness, gay or straight or bi?

      Jun 4, 2011 at 6:37 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Mike Justice
      Mike Justice

      I don’t understand why everyone is so worked up over this blog post. We shouldn’t come down too hard on the guy who wrote this article. He was clearly stoned or drunk or something. I mean, the second “paragraph” is actually some sort of crazy run-on sentence that I had to re-read five times OUT LOUD — and it STILL doesn’t make any sense. I THINK maybe the writer was playing devil’s advocate and defending closeted actors by bringing up some (incredibly badly worded) points. Which isn’t necessarily an evil thing. A lot is being said about “out” vs. “closet” and “personal happiness” vs. “success” and blah blah blah, but I think the REAL tragedy here is that there are TONS of unemployed writers out there who can really turn a phrase and bring out the big guns, so to speak, and yet all this attention is being paid to this incredibly hard-to-follow “article” on some tragic gay blog that nobody reads.

      Jun 4, 2011 at 7:24 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • jason
      jason

      We are all victims of the sleazy straight guy + bisexual female enabler paradigm. It’s a paradigm that was instigated by Hollywood and the entertainment industry in general. It is designed to marginalize the male in terms of his physical beauty and in terms of his same-sex sexuality. At the same time, it elevates female physical beauty and female same-sex sexuality.

      The people who are our enemy are the people who are driving this paradigm: sleazy straight guys, female whores, financiers, studio heads, agents, magazine publishers, gossip columnists etc etc.

      Jun 4, 2011 at 7:41 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Aaron
      Aaron

      What I’d like to see is an openly Bisexual male film actor. I really can’t think of any, aside from Tom Hardy, and even he says he’s pretty much straight (which is no doubt to save face). This of course seems to be a foreign concept on queerty; Matt Bomer has kids and a wife, right? Well obviously he’s just in the closet and totally absolutely gay and in no way bisexual! I mean, the audacity of there to be an in-between!

      With crud like Glee telling kids you can’t be Bi, especially guys, it’d be nice to have a sort of bi male role model who isn’t dead and/or really old and irrelevant to hollywood anymore…

      Jun 4, 2011 at 7:59 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Sue
      Sue

      @jason:

      Quote: “… to the stupid fucking females out there who look to Hollywood actors to fulfill their “dream man” fantasies.”

      Things are changing, Jason. Openly gay singer, Adam Lambert, has over one million followers on Twitter, most of whom are female. He doesn’t seem to get much support from the gay community. Chris Colfer has over 800,000. I imagine many of these are women. Seems like many women are quite happily dreaming about gay guys too, these days. Maybe something the powers that be need to think about.

      Jun 4, 2011 at 9:02 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Simply Said
      Simply Said

      @Aaron: Matt and his husband regularly host, attend and financially support gay related fundraisers unlike many ‘officially out’ actors who do nothing other than come out when forced to or to revive a tanked career and use our community. They were front and center on the Golden Globes on tv for all to see and arrived together just last week at the USA up fronts together. No one with an Internet connection and google or the thousands of fangirls who love and blog on Matt believe he is anything but gay and they are fine with it which is huge. Of course there are the homophobic exceptions. He has never bearded nor denied or lied about his orientation.

      Jun 4, 2011 at 9:52 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Deb Bashur
      Deb Bashur

      Just exactly whose side are you on? Yes jackass, you DO need to pick one. I can’t believe you would undermine someone who has the courage of his convictions. Are you jealous, or is it just that you like to stir the pot, maybe you are bored? Whatever your reason is, you diminished the credibility of this website and you need an editor to keep you in check! Step into the century or step aside. I am a 57 year-old straight woman, and I still hope to see this ignorance quelled in my lifetime, so please stop fostering it, K?

      Jun 5, 2011 at 8:44 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Leah
      Leah

      @Aaron: I just wanted to correct what you said about Matt Bomer. He does not have a wife. He is the step father to Simon Halls three children.

      Jun 5, 2011 at 11:53 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Deb Bashur
      Deb Bashur

      @Bomer: I really want to believe this is someone POSING as Matt Bomer, and not the actor himself. If its really you, then I hope you find love and realize that 600k is a shitty price to buy your freedom.

      Jun 5, 2011 at 12:01 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Art Smith
      Art Smith

      @Aaron, what about Alan Cumming and Anthony Rapp?

      They’re openly bisexual actors. Cary Grant was openly bisexual as well.

      Jun 5, 2011 at 12:54 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Cam
      Cam

      @Simply Said: said…

      “@Aaron: Matt and his husband regularly host, attend and financially support gay related fundraisers unlike many ‘officially out’ actors who do nothing other than come out when forced to or to revive a tanked career and use our community.”
      __________________________________

      Coming out publically is much more valuable to the community than a closet case who assages his closet guilt by coming to a few fundraising events while still hiding his sexuality.

      Jun 5, 2011 at 1:55 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Right Wingers Are Socioptahs (John From England)
      Right Wingers Are Socioptahs (John From England)

      @Bomer:

      Dude you’re in the closet? Stop appearing with your kids and hubby holding balloons at events! And stop co-chairing gay events with your man.

      Better still, go on tumblr that is OBSESSED with you and see how many fan gurls are crying cause you’re gay!

      Jun 5, 2011 at 4:08 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Right Wingers Are Socioptahs (John From England)
      Right Wingers Are Socioptahs (John From England)

      @Simply Said:

      Exactly. What has NPH ever done since he was PUSHED out of the closet? Or the Grey Anatomy guy?

      Cheyenne Jackson is the only gay actor who also does a lot of gay charitable stuff. Heck, he was also outed but admitted that and then sacked his publicist.

      Jun 5, 2011 at 4:13 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Right Wingers Are Socioptahs (John From England)
      Right Wingers Are Socioptahs (John From England)

      @Deb Bashur:

      Get a life ‘miss my SH*T don’t stink.

      Jun 5, 2011 at 4:14 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Kirk212
      Kirk212 [Different person #2 using similar name]

      @Cam: LOL! Cam as Queerty relics go you have always been one of my favorites.what should he possibly feel guilty about?this is still America where one can and should pursue his own happiness.live and let live man!

      Jun 5, 2011 at 4:43 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • LadyL
      LadyL

      @divkid: Yes. Precisely. Thank you.

      Jun 6, 2011 at 12:37 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Cam
      Cam

      @Kirk212: said…

      “@Cam: LOL! Cam as Queerty relics go you have always been one of my favorites.what should he possibly feel guilty about?this is still America where one can and should pursue his own happiness.live and let live man!”
      ___________________________________-

      I never said that he didn’t have the right to be a selfish coward. He has the same right to do that, as anybody else. But what he can’t do is pretend that donating a few bucks to a charity that leans gay is in anyway comparable to the benefit to others that Neil Patrick Harris, Ellen, etc… have given by being honest about who they are.

      Jun 6, 2011 at 8:31 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Marcus
      Marcus

      @Matthew Rettenmund:
      I so agree with you, Matt.

      Jun 7, 2011 at 2:08 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • MMDD
      MMDD

      @KevMusic: Applauds loudly.

      Jun 12, 2011 at 1:23 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·

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